Sunday, March 15, 2009

6 Suggestions to help you move past stagnation

I know about stagnation. Been there - done that - still do it sometimes.

It is easy to get into a rut with our writing. Churning out the same old stuff from the same old ideas. The worst part is that we can be stagnant and not even know it. Then one day, we begin to feel the effects . We're sluggish, uninspired and downright stuck.

Let me share 6 suggestion to help you find the cause, the solution and move past your stagnation

1. Take a break. Do something different for a few days. Write purely for pleasure. Throw yourself into another activity you enjoy. Spend some special leisure time with the people you love. Treat yourself to a day spa or a couple hours at the hair salon with a manicure and pedicure thrown in for good measure.

2. Try something new. Play around with a different topic. Sketch the first ideas about a new story. Experiment with a different routine. Stretch your writing muscles - write by hand, write in the library, a coffee shop, a bookstore, the park, the beach, on your porch or backyard.

3. Tame the negative voices. They can reek havoc with your confidence in yourself as a writer, your abilities, your voice, your writing and your goals.

4. Turn to your favorite sources of inspiration. Books, blogs, photographs, places, people - whatever works for you.

5. Talk it out with other writers. They will share their experiences, offer advice that worked and works for them and support you through your recovery.

6. Trash it out in your journal. A writer can always find solutions and work through problems by writing in his or her journal.

Do you feel stagnant? Has you writing stalled? Are you going to try these suggestions? Maybe you have a few others that have worked for you in the past and still use from time to time. You're welcome to share them here.


Joanne said...

I always have a few different projects going on at once: the blog, submitting to journals, editing a manuscript, agent research. So if I start to feel stagnant, I'll look at my choices and focus attention on one of the projects I may have neglected for awhile, feeling fresh returning to it.

Then there are the daily things, a long walk, a break/distraction with a shopping trip maybe, or coffee shop, and I always enjoy going on a photo trip, taking everyday pictures that later inspire thought and ideas.

Cheryl Wright said...

Joanne: what a variety of areas to shift your attention.

Ummm, (questioning look on my face) I wonder how I knew before hand that a visit to a coffee shop would be on your list of "stagnation busters"?

Magnolia said...

Well, my thoughts are little different. My writing hasn't stalled so much as I can't get it off the ground. It's mainly due to demands by my family.

I have such a chaotic life with everybody going in different directions and each one of them wanting something from me in various and sundry ways that it seems there is never the right time, a good time or a perfect time to be able to sit down and write.

It's extremely frustrating for me. Something that might percolate in my head for a while and get really inspiring looses its luster after I try to write it down over and over again, only to get sidetracked.

When I come back to it, it doesn't look fresh or exciting anymore. It begins to look like a chore that I just cannot complete.

It's more discouraging and frustrating than I can articulate.

Just this morning as I sat quietly in my bed with my laptop and coffee trying to do my free write exercise, my dear husband pads in, begins to root around looking for clothing, getting dressed. He's not speaking to me mind you, but I can hardly free write with a person shuffeling around the room.

When he is done grousing around, then my little 9 year old comes in to brush her hair and do similar type things. So, I end up stopping and waiting for everyone to leave. Sigh.

I'm just venting in case you haven't figured that out.

Cheryl Wright said...

On Mags, my dear Mags, you sound as if you are reading my journal entries from a few years ago.

Now retired from the fulltime job that devoured my time, my energies and my motivation, I still to do battle with my personal demons - procrastination, perfection and my spoiled cat Immi-Poppit. In two months time, when my daughter returns to work, I'll be adding my grand-daughter to the mix.

I think writers are masters at crisis management (major, minor and everything in-between). Don't you?

Jan said...

I think "mixing it up" is very helpful for stagnation. Just plain--do something different--just do something! Like Joanne, I have a number of different projects going on at once. That helps. I like mixing it up; it keeps me from getting bored, stuck, or losing interest. The wise ones said variety is the spice of life. They just might be right when it comes to writing! Mixing it up also allows us to stretch our wings and try something brand new, which may be just what the writing doctor ordered! You can also go on vacation, like I am now. (Ha Ha!)

Cheryl Wright said...


You're definitely practicing what you preach, especially about throwing a vacation in the mix.

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